Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Obsessed with flight.

I've been drawn to birds recently. I've seen them everywhere: in the form of cookies, pillows, t-shirts and sketches. Apparently owls are fashionable these days, but nothing can touch the master pigeon.

Straight, no chaser.

The verdict is still out on Dixon's new ad campaign created by M&C Saatchi in London. I think it works because it touches on a real valuable consumer insight - people love the physical shopping experience, but yet know that the best deals will be had online.

However this doesn't necessarily mean that most people will browse in high-street shops and then go home and order their desired items on the lowest bidding site. The reasons for this may vary, sometimes the relationship and trust factor weigh heavier than price, sometimes not.

I know that I much prefer the experience of renting a movie in a small, local independent video shop, even if it is more expensive, than on or I enjoy the conversation with the movie buff at the register and discovering titles I may have never heard of otherwise. I like holding the DVD case, seeing the images, reading the synopsis and talking to other people in the store. I enjoy strolling down aisles and perusing movie titles that are ordered in interesting ways (and not to mention easy to find - if you're looking for a film at, new releases will also include old movies that have just been released on DVD or Bluray, which clutters the space and drives me mad) - from staff picks to foreign new releases, to movies segmented by directors and actors. The online experience pales in comparison. So in this instance, cost isn't the main factor in my decision-making process.

That said, I think the Dixon's campaign is brave and honest. It taps into human purchasing behavior on one level, but in order to really increase sales or drive traffic to the Dixon's website, Dixon's must deliver on their promise of price, as it recognizes that its in-store experience isn't what it should be (otherwise why would people prefer to window-shop in Selfridge's or John Lewis?).

One thing the campaign doesn't account for is irrationality. Some people may rather pay more for perceived (whether actual or real) value. Is shopping at much better than their in-store experience? Or does it not matter since it's cheaper? Do people trust the Dixon's brand? Would they be willing to pay more for the relationship and shopping experience? Or does it all come down to price in a quasi-post recession?

I'm not sure what the answers are, I suppose we'll have to wait and see if there is any correlation between honest messaging and increased traffic/profit margins. Whatever the outcome may be, I appreciate the copy and candor of the campaign. More on the Dixon debate here and here.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Viral Remix

100 Greatest YouTube Hits in 4 Minutes

Via Huffington Post.

Masters of the Universe (live & in Shoreditch)

It's hard to avoid the topic of fashion (not that I necessarily want to avoid the big shouldered, studded and chained biker jacket, corset inspired spreads, but it ultimately gives my wallet an anorexia type complex), so in the spirit of London's Fashion Week, I give you Adrian Riemann's fabulous Masters of the Universe make-overs:

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Digital Tent

I got a chance to soak up the last days of London Digital Week at the Tent London over the weekend. It reminded me a bit of the Biennale - perhaps it was the mix of design and digital housed in this space. There was a lot going on, but three exhibits in particular stood out. I suppose the intersection of digital and physical spaces is nothing new, but the way in which the two collide and intertwine make me think that soon enough that separation will be mere semantics. It's not just the way technology will be embedded in our physical spaces, but how we interact with it, the way it may overlay and mesh with everyday functions. My mind went off on a few Space Odyssey tangents, as this small show had some mind expanding catalysts.

Lights and Shadows by WOW
: a wide screen nine meters in length captured the spirit of Tokyo city.

Go Scan Yourself: Apparently it wasn't intentional and was rather due to budgetary constraints, but I loved the way you could scan yourself and then see the image displayed shortly thereafter on an old funky 1980s TV set.

Troy Abbott's Nano Cages: All Digital Beauty. No Mess or Mortality, presented the only types of budgies I'd ever like to see in cages: the digital kind. Strange and surreal videos of birds moving in colorful cages got my attention at the Tent.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Moby Dicks

the great white frontier
like a vast eternal sea
my pen the mahogany wood speck
in the middle of sameness
the crisp page
like a smooth Pringle chip
I, like a drunk driver, waiver here and there
creating ripples,
leaving crumbs that resemble dust clouds
we are always journeying
albeit at different speeds
if you listen real close
you can hear the engine purr
depends where you're headed
I can see it now
360s in parking lots
the majority of us
like great whites
forever moving in a frantic prosaic style
just to stay alive
motivated by fear and safe boredom
the tension between the two mount
like music in a horror movie
before the kill
and if i listen closely
i can hear the hum

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Edible Flags.

Nice elegant idea for a print campaign to promote the Sydney International Food Festival. The campaign unites foodies from around the world with flags crafted from food.

Whybin/TBWA created the campaign.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Take a seat.

This post was inspired by a conversation I had with my Pops at the dinner table last night. We were analyzing how something as mundane as sitting could actually be replete with meaning. Where you choose to seat actually says a lot about who you are. Like a dog searching for the perfect spot to sit, we're all looking for our place in this world. Sometimes that place may exist in the most ordinary formats, like a seat at the dinner table, on the bus, plane, restaurant or in a classroom.

Cases in point: mobsters often sit at the back of restaurants so they can survey the joint, be close to an exit, and make sure no one is behind them. My Dad is an aisle man when he flies because he likes to feel free to move and not be obstructed by people (though position is fraught with its own problems - people grab your headrest and knock your knees as they walk down the aisles).

Some people like to sit close to a window, so they can daydream and look outside. Maybe others like to sit in the middle of a crowd so they can blend in because they're shy. I know a lot of people that don't like to sit with their backs to the door, in case trouble comes barging in. Yet other transient commitment phobes may like to sit close to exits.

The politics of seating arrangements is pretty serious business. Weddings, especially Jewish ones, necessitate the art of seating diplomacy, so Aunt Ethel is not next to cousin George, who she hasn't spoken to in years, ever since he insulted her new Gefilte fish (or something as ridiculous).

Where you sit can also be an indication of power and personality in the workplace. According to clinical psychologist Sharon Livingston, people fit into one of seven personality types based on where they sit, which she explains using the nomenclature borrowed from Snow White's seven dwarves. Those sitting opposite the person leading the meeting tend to be Grumpy or Doc, or a combination of the two, says Livingston. Grumpy is openly argumentative and may be hard to control. Doc is the person who faces off against the leader to show off his or her intelligence. The person who sits on the leader's right is Happy--a yes-man.

I just like how thinking about where you're sitting at a dining room table can lead to an investigation into personality, character and place. There is something to be said about the odd adage: where you stand depends on where you sit.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Judging Covers

Haters + Lovers reminds me of a game my Mom bought that basically had cards with pictures of people and their answers to random questions on the back (favorite book, job, dreams, etc.). It challenged your perceptions and more than often not, I found myself really thinking that I knew the right answer only to find out I was wrong. I know there's some Gladwell chapter on this somewhere. Interesting stuff. Test yourself here.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Creative Closets

Maybe it's the British weather that's got me thinking about creative spaces, somewhere personal, cozy and customized where you can think, write, peruse books and graphic novels, listen to music or simply daydream while looking out a window or staring into a painting.

When I was little I liked closets. They were places I could make mine. I would close the door and get lost in racks of shoes and the wafting scent of lingering Givenchy perfume.

I'd love to have a playroom, an inspiring creative retreat from the daily grind. I imagine a room filled with pictures, posters, a plastic duck lamp, paintings, a fireplace, striped rug, arched windows and gold, silver, bright red and deep blue cushions everywhere.

I started to search for places where artists of all sorts create, and came up with a few interesting finds (both imagined and real).

Kate Bingaman-Burt's creative space on ShareSomeCandy.

Migy's workshop on ShareSomeCandy.

Camilla Engman's artistic space on ShareSomeCandy.

Illustrations courtesy of Charlie Roberts.

The Guardian's Writer's Rooms series showcases the spaces where authors create:

Edna O'Brien's writing boudoir.

Maggie Gee's creative room.

Raymond Brigg's writing den.

Hanef Kureshi's writing space.

Kyle Cassidy has also documented Fantasy and Sci-fi writer's spaces.

Where do you create? What's your dream space? What's stopping you from making it?